OHADA Treaties, Uniform Act, Penal Code..: Gov’t Hands Over English Versions To Media

The Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Keeper of Seals handed the documents to media organs on February 17, 2017 in the presence of MINCOM.

The conference hall of the Ministry of Justice witnessed an unprecedented turnout of representatives of media organs on February 17, 2017 to receive English versions of the OHADA Uniform Acts, the Criminal Procedure Code and Penal Code enacted on July 12, 2016 by the President of the Republic. The Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Laurent Esso, handed over the documents to journalists in the presence of the Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary and the General Managers of CRTV and SOPECAM, Charles Ndongo and Marie Claire Nnana respectively.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of State stated that it was not possible for the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) to make instruments in English available because French was its working language. However, he added, “the government did all that was needed for the OHADA Treaties and Uniform Acts to be available in Cameroon in English. They were published in English in the special editions of September 1999 and November 1999 of the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cameroon.”
Laurent Esso dismissed claims that the English versions of the OHADA Treaties and Uniform Acts are only made available now because of the present circumstances. “The publication on 24 November 2016 of OHADA Uniform Acts in English in the OHADA Official Gazette is the outcome of a long process initiated by the government that started many years ago, and not the result of what some people consider as a strike action,” he clarified.  
The Minister of State stated with regret that translations into English of OHADA instruments done by the Ministry of Justice and published in special editions of the Official Gazette of Cameroon in 1997 and 1999 had not been widely disseminated. He reminded the national and international community of the bilingual character of Cameroon as stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic which gives English and French equal value.  “It is therefore neither illegal nor illegitimate to use one or the other in public services everywhere in the national territory. Similarly, it would be illegal and illegitimate to claim the primacy of one over the other or the exclusion of one in favour of the other,” he underlined.

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